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The good thing about social networking is that it allows you to create a brand or an image for yourself in a very public sphere with very little cost to you. At least financially.

With social networks expanding beyond the reach of teenagers and college students, creating and utilizing professional contacts is become easier and daunting at the same time. The key is to know how to separate the grain from the chaff. In other words, when you’re using networks such asTwitterLinkedIn or even Facebook, begin with researching and following people in your industry.

Websites such as Twitter allow the option of creating lists that you can follow; therefore staying current with the industry becomes quite easy.

However, for professional purposes, LinkedIn is probably the best place to begin because you can tap into your own network contacts, which can include your friends, employers and school networks.

About.com has a list of recommendations to follow when establish an online presence geared specifically for job searching. Bear in mind that creating a credible online presence takes a lot of time, effort, consistency (i.e., becoming a subject matter expert) and frequent updates. Although frequency is a relative and subjective term, an absence of longer than two weeks may become detrimental to your online persona.

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